1990 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz first time buyer help

Hello, so basically im a first time car buyer who loves the look of older cars. I have saved enough to buy a 1990 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz ive been looking at for a few weeks. I fell in love with it. Escpecially its all red leather interior. Anyways the car has 20,000 miles on it and the dealer is trying to sell it for 11k. Now this brings up some questions for me that I am hoping some more knowledgeable car owners could answer. First of all I am somewhat sketched out that a car almost 30 years old could have such low mileage on it. Now I thought that the odometer could have been rolled back but if im not mistaken this model year has a digital odometer, which to my knowledge cant be tampered with. I would like a second opinion and some reassurance on this. Now lets say the odometer hasnt been messed with in anyway and that the car genuinely does have 20k on it. For its age that means it most likely sat around unused in a garage for years. How likely is the possibilty of dry rotting in the seals of the car and pretty much anything rubber. I havent yet seen this car in person as i am debating weather this is something i should go drive out to look at. Like i said, I love the car and i just dont want to be dissapointed. Now for any of you who own cadillacs or this particular model, how often do the parts need to be replaced and what kind of immediate problems do you think i would be looking at with the purchase of this car? Basically anything that can help me in any way would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for any grammer mistakes or punctuation Im in a bit of a rush writing this.

This would be a good hobby car or collector’s car. I would not advise buying it as a daily driver. In spite of the low mileage many components. such as rubber will have deteriorated with time. Unless oil changes were frequent, the engine may also have considerable sludge inside…

You will need complete maintenance records and have a competent mechanic inspect it.

I don’t think it will be reliable enough as a daily driver, especially since this is your first car.

Look at a use late model compact with a reliable history, such as a Corolla or a Honda Civic.

Thanks I apreciate the imput.


Thanks for Your response :joy:

Almost 30 years old. Expect to replace the battery, tires, all the seals, rubber hoses, etc, unless you can get proof they were replaced recently.

Get a good mechanic to check it out.

Expect to spend a lot of money to keep it running.

More things to think about- Full coverage insurance might have to from a classic vehicle carrier, that means an agreement of value-how many miles it will be driven-where it will be parked when not in use . Where will you get body parts if it is in an accident .

Of course I don’t understand why you are even asking before actually seeing the car in person.

You’re right to be asking these questions. And they’re good ones. I tip my hat to you.

Unless you can check it over carefully in person, take it for a good test drive, and have it checked over well by your trusted mechanic, don’t even consider it.

If you can accomplish all this, it “passes” everything including the test drive, AND you can get the price way down (IMHO it’s way too high for a thirty year old car), then and only then should you consider it. It is, after all thirty year old, and it will very likely need work. Elastomers degrade, and they’re everywhere including in the brake system, in the cooling system, and protecting the wiring (via grommets) everywhere the wires go through relief holes in body panels.

In short, it’s a risk. But of you love it, you can afford to support it, and it passes all the checks, it might reward you with fond memories.

As for the price, I don’t think you can take the “kelly blue book” approach to the value, because this isn’t a 10 year old Impala. It might be considered a classic by now

Perhaps one of the various Hemmings publications has/had articles about this particular car. I’m thinking buyer’s guides, reader’s rides, etc. If so, they’ll probably tell you what to look out for, and a price range.

I think starting with th $11,000 asking price and subtracting whatever it needs from that would provide a price I’d be willing to pay. What does it need? Get a prepurchase inspection from a mechanic you trust and use that to find a final offer.

The price is too high and someone is pricing it that way because in their mind super low mileage means an excessive premium price.

My price guide shows the car is worth 15 grand IF it’s a No. 1 car. No. 1 means the car is essentially new front, back, underneath, and needs absolutely nothing.

As a No. 3 car (meaning a clean driver needing little if anything, the guide shows about 6500 dollars.

Keep in mind all of those rubber seals in the transmission which help to control various pressures and make the trans shift correctly are all 28 years old and like brake hydraulics are subject to fail at anytime.
There’s also the issue of aged gasoline if it has not been driven and that can often lead to a failed fuel pump.

Yes the mileage could be legit. There was an old man here who passed away about 7 years ago and at the time of his death he was still driving his 1971 Buick Skylark that he had purchased brand new back in the day. The car only had 31k miles on it and still had plastic covers over the seats.

Thank you all this is very helpful. :+1:

One way to check prices is to look on Ebay, under completed listings. You’ll see what similar cars got bid up to. That’s the best measure of selling price I know of.

And #1 cars are very rare - think ‘museum quality’.

New Camry’s can be had with red leather. I like old cars, but I know which red leather interior I would rather be in. Old cars require a place to work on them, a desire to work on them the ability to work on them; plus back up transportaion unless it is a hobby vehicle.

people buy what they like. a 1990 caddy? if you like it, fine. it would be a good idea to at least look at a few to compare them. if i recall they had the 4.5 or was it the 4.9 motor? i think the 4.5 was a little sketchy and by 93-95 the 4.9 had been tweaked enough that they were fairly reliable. for 90’s standards.

One way to validate mileage is to look at parts that would normally wear with use. The pads on the brake and gas pedal will look vastly different on a car that has 20k miles versus one with 120k miles. This is something most sellers pay no attention to so unlikely they would have replaced those pads.

I once owned an Eldo of that vintage. Great car for it’s day. I loved driving that car, the transmission shifted like a cloud and it had all the bells and whistles. That being said, I’d never buy one today. WAY too outdated and just because it’s in great shape with low mileage does not increase the value all that much. As you suspect, storing cars is sometimes harder on them than lightly using them. Everything degrades over time even if not used.

Edmunds has a true value calculator you can use to get an idea of how others might value that car. The short of it is $11k for that car is a pipe dream. Nobody but someone completely enamored with it is going to pay anywhere near that for it. Including people like me that have fond memories of one they owned. I wouldn’t pay much more than this-

1 Like

From what I read it had the 4.1L engine. This will never be a classic, it was the mistake model, downsized in expectation of super high priced gas that never came. If the OP likes it, fine, but it’s just an old car, nothing more. $11,000 is crazy money, in my opinion.

This is a day 1 Mecum auction type vehicle and two determined bidders might run it up to $4000.00